During the official qualification for the A1GP Zandvoort Jeroen Bleekemolen qualified A1 Team Netherlands on a ninth grid position. A result with which the team hopes to move up the order during the Sprint race tomorrow and secure a good position for the Feature race. In the four sessions Bleekemolen drove an aggregate time of 2’56.618 (1’28.411 + 1’28.207). A1 Team Netherlands was in third place after three of the four runs, but in the last session a number of countries managed to improve further on their time. South Africa took an impressive pole, followed by Mexico and France.
During the first three sessions Bleekemolen, driving with new tyres, managed to improve his times again and again. The support of the massive crowd was clearly noticeable at Circuit Park Zandvoort. Every time the orange A1 Team Netherlands car crossed start / finish a standing ovation and waving flags were seen on the grandstands.
Jeroen Bleekemolen: “It certainly was not too bad. I still miss a bit of experience driving with the new tyres, that I did notice. I went faster and faster, ideally I should have had one more set of new tyres, then we could have been in a better position. I think that we can be reasonably satisfied, we were quite competitive the whole time and were in the top of the time sheets for a long time. I am certain that within a few races we should have the experience to be really in front. The final session I was running used tyres, you cannot do much then”, said Jeroen who tomorrow will experience the rolling A1GP start for the first time. “That is all new to me, I will just do my best and see how far we can come. In A1 you can start from last place and still win the race. The spectators here still are fantastic. Every time you exit the pit lane and along the track, you just see the dunes move. You see everyone stand up and wave flags. During your inlap you see that and it is great!”
Jan Lammers: “Of course we were very curious how things would fall into place. Jeroen did not drive Formula cars for a while, but GT’s and that’s a whole other story. We are lucky that this is our home track and Jeroen can get into the mood here. You need information from your tyres, he hasn’t good to much now. This is the position we are at. When you start racing you never aim for ninth of course, you want to know what you need to do. We are ninth, but with the thought that there is much more room for improvement. If we could finish the weekend inside the top six that would be great”.
Tomorrow at 11.00 the A1GP sprint race starts, which will run over 20 minutes maximum. A point system consisting of qualifying position, fastest race lap and Sprint race result will determine the starting grid for the Feature race.
A1GP Team Netherlands
Picture: Cas Poldermans